I’ve never quite understood why there’s so much hype going on about this new character in Tekken 7, but after watching this trailer, now I know why.
Namco Bandai Producer Katsuhiro Harada introduced her during Tekken’s 20th Anniversary via Nico Video last week as Josie Rizal.
What do we know about Josie Rizal?
1. She is the first character in the Tekken franchise to be from the Philippines.
2. She considers the Philippines’ National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal as her idol.
3. Armed with a sad back story, Josie specializes in Eskrima and Kick Boxing.
4. The character was designed by Mari Shimazaki, who is also the lead character designer for the Bayonetta series.
5. Her outfit resembles the colors of the Philippine flag.
6. She joins the returning characters Jin Kazama and Devil Jin.
While a lot of us who practically grew up playing Tekken find this story amusing, I also can’t help but wonder what image Josie Rizal may be projecting to today’s generation. I don’t want to come across like someone who’s overreading the fictional character, but really: What impression could Josie Rizal make about our country or Dr. Jose Rizal? Naturally, a springboard of comments surfaced. According to posts from Attack of the Fan Boy and Rappler, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) commented that Josie Rizal’s name is much too close to Dr. Jose Rizal. The suggestion is to retain the character, but change the name. Despite mixed reactions, a lot of Filipino fans generally love the idea of a Filipino character in the franchise, so Harada is not too keen on the few negative feedback Josie Rizal is getting. However, updates on Harada’s social media account reveal that in case the issue doesn’t die down, Josie might just get booted out entirely, rather than they change the name. Well, I hope not. Let’s see what happens in the coming days. I just find it hard to associate Josie with Jose P. Rizal, or the Philippines. Except for the allusion of the name, the colors of her outfit and perhaps her skin color, Josie doesn’t scream Pinoy to me. Maybe that’s just me. Well, she is fictional, after all. On a much lighter note, I think the fighting game creators have made a wonderful gesture of representing the Philippines in the gaming community through a popular video game such as Tekken. Arigatou Gozaimasu, Bandai Namco!